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Archive for December, 2009

And big girls check things off their to-do lists instead of rereading their first blogs, written at age 16. Yes, last night I discovered it, my first weblog. I was shocked it was even still lingering in cyberspace. My pseudonym was: thejoyofcurls, a name I derived from a book my mother had in the kitchen called “The Joy of Cooking.” As a straight-haired dame, I was always a bit jealous of those with curly locks, and so I used the electronic medium as a means to express my love for my lacking. Oh, and did I mention my icon was a gigantic vanilla cupcake? Define yourself in a picture, and I chose a child-bearing-hips-inducing confectionary baked good.

"You are what you eat."- Nachmonides

The best part, however, was the name and the tagline: “Moses Loves You- Tales of a Jewish Girl in a Secular World.”

It is no surprise that the first line of the entire blog read as: “Being Jewish is truly a rocking role I play in life. It allows me to scream, “bloody Moses” without question and to twirl around in long black skirts when it’s 90 degrees without blank stares.” I was living in such a bubble- a big, fat Orthodox only bubble. I think I can fairly say that bubble has burst. And in its place the Euro-tripping, hostel-living Yaffa has been born. Instead of devoting entire entries to the multiple ways one can say prostitute in Hebrew, I now spend entire entries on the joys of caffeine and snuggies. How far I have come.

And with that regression, I return to packing. I will update again upon my return from Zurich-Vienna-Berlin-Brussels, collectively referred to as the ZVBB (creative, no?)

I leave you with a short talk I once wrote about myself in my joyofcurling blog:

The ladies opine that height doesn’t matter
when the Jew is in need of a hatter.
The size of a Jew
And the size of his shoe
Concerns Yaffa, she wants tall, not fatter.

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You know when you realize you are definitely not of the baby boomer generation- when you travel. Suddenly you have 101 gadgets, and they all must be charged and ready to go. I-touch, digital camera, assorted cell phones, MacBook Pro- all essential to my mental state, and almost nearly as important as my caffeine intake. It’s as if there are not enough outlets in my entire house to re-energize my technological life dependencies. (Did I mention how I almost cried about losing my blackberry to the Verizon gods for another three months?) In fact, I may just have to stay in New York forever, as forever is about the only time frame that will allow me to pursue both my blog and coffee addictions equally.

Oh, and let me gawk at the holiday windows on Fifth Ave.

Insert: "She's A Lady" here.

If only all my presents were wrapped in satin bows...

Life-size versions of the ladies of "Mad Men"

Bringing the tutu back...

Reminds me of Ursula from "The Little Mermaid"

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and all through the streets of New York a lone Jew roamed, recklessly thrashing her way through the crowds in search of a caffeinated safe haven. She succeeded on multiple accounts, and in between decided to begin completing her checklist of New York MUSTS.

But first a trip back to the summer before 10th grade; a time before I knew of the power of caffeine: Sitting in my lovely Cityscape class at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I, in theory, was supposed to be painting views of the city in all its dirt and glory. Instead, Little Miss I Didn’t Know I Had To Bring Supplies to Class ran to the local design store and purchased exorbitant amounts of acrylics and oils, unaware of the difference between the two, before returning to her artsy fartsy painting studio. Upon my return, my instructor, Rob, told me to paint the first thing I think of when I think of New York. And being me, I decided that was a waterfall. Yes, to me New York was just one gigantic waterfall that had enveloped me since birth. Only Rob didn’t mean metaphorically. He wanted buildings and taxi cabs and homeless people- he wanted the urban landscape. Upon seeing my exploration into the semi-abstract world of Niagara Falls, he responded, “How very geometric and intuitive.” I was no artistic savant, but even I knew that meant I should stick to my day job.

Fast forward to the 23rd of December and I quickly discover the works of Kandinsky in the Guggenheim. An entire wall of his work is entitled “How Very Geometric,” and suddenly I am transported back in time to the painting studio with the instructor who had a one syllable name. The twenty year old version of myself begins to question whether he really did have issues with my painting, or whether he thought I was just channeling my inner Kandinsky, ala his German period. Because Lord knows once he got to Paris, it was all about the pastels and smiley faces.

The 24th of December brings Bendel’s and Burton exhibits at the MoMA. In Bendels, I instantly fall in love with a $128 headband. Where is the grandmother who will buy anything to degayify her actually straight granddaughter when you need her? In her place, my always thrifty friend Alayna stands. She firmly states, “Step away from the bejeweled headband. Step away from the cardboard box-inducing merchandise.” After multiple repetitions of these two lines, I succumb to the pressure, but am then satiated by a trip to the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA. Yes, the director of “Edward Scissorhands”, “the Corpse’s Bride,” and “Sleepy Hollow” has his own exhibit in New York City. And it kind of rocks, particularly if you have a propensity for distortion, darkness, and Johnny Depp.

Entering the mind of Tim Burton.

Timmy likes his women voluptuous-- with a capital V.

And he prefers his men with scissors, rather than hands.

But what Christmas Eve would be complete without Chinese food and wine sampling. Said wine sampling, involving my mother, Teresa, and myself, strongly resembled a clip from “9 to 5,” in which my favorite protagonists share a joint together. Magic ensues. And by magic, I mean madness and excessive amounts of hilarity, shared only amongst the characters themselves.

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for giving us beautiful, ostentatious displays of wealth we’ll never have.

Little Miss Artsy Fartsy Bride

If it doesn't wind, it ain't a real staircase

Nothing like a fur hat to get you into the holiday spirit...

"And all that glitters is gold," or in this case silver

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I like to think I am my astrological sign; as in I fulfill the Cancer description. For those not well acquainted with astrology, I can offer a brief summary of my star sign. Cancers are known to be moody. In other words, we are perpetually in states of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Some might even define us as sensitive. We also tend to surround ourselves with lots and lots of friends. Everyone is my best friend in his or her own special way. Oh, and we love the water– be it ocean, lake, or New York City style sewer.

Ok, from now on I will use the term “Moon Child” instead of “Cancers” as the connotation of the latter is a bit too morbid for my new rainbows and butterflies approach to life. As moon children tend to prefer night to day, it is also a rather accurate descriptor.

My visit to my grandparents in the Washington DC area reminded me I am definitely a friend before family moon child. Not to say I don’t value family, but I certainly rely on friends to be my emotional and intellectual support in the absence of family in close proximity. A few quotable quotes to illustrate why this is my reality:

1. MOTHER: It’s better to be living life up here than to be buried underground.

GRANDMOTHER: Well, that’s a matter of opinion.

INSERT AWKWARD PAUSE HERE.

2. MOTHER: Leave Yaffa be. She is eating healthy and is living healthy.

GRANDFATHER: Yea, but I read the obituaries every day, and often it’s the healthiest people that die first.

YAFFA (to mother): Well, this would make for an interesting blog entry.

3. GRANDMOTHER: So, Yaffa, have you found a British husband yet?

YAFFA: Um, do you see a ring on my finger?

GRANDMOTHER: At this rate you might have to take a picture of the ring and leave it on my tombstone.

These familial philosophies are not exactly conducive to the eternal optimist attitude I am embracing as my New Year’s Resolution, and so I believe limited, but valuable contact with my grandparents will be the key to sustaining a healthy relationship. Also if I can avoid the cheesecake, strawberry cake, chocolate cake, and assorted biscuits for my 24 hour stay, Weight Watchers may just have to hire me as their new spokeswoman. Move over Fergie, Ms. British Royalty. There is a new dieter in town. And she’s perky and says things like “CAW-FEE” instead of “coffee.”

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Sometimes I feel like G-d is chilling up in the clouds, sipping a margarita or two, and thinking, “That Yaffa, will she ever learn to dissociate from technological means of communication?” Of course, being G-d and all, He knows the answer is no. Nonetheless, He attempts to teach me a lesson or two regarding life before 2000. For example, He causes the audio board in my Mac to blow, thus bringing my GLEE marathon to an abrupt end. Or, He returns my blackberry to me, only to create a virus in the blackberry server, thus severing all electronic communication on the device. Now while many would consider these sudden glitches a sign from the Heavens that maybe a trip to a nice desert island is in the stars, I view these momentary lapses as an opportunity to put my $200,000 liberal arts education to good use and brainstorm solutions. At which point, G-d gives up the fight and returns me to my harmoniously dependent technological state of being.

In other non-technologically related news, I have created a list of New York MUST Dos before I return to the United Kingdom:

1. Kadinsky exhibit at Guggenheim. I am told I will appreciate this exhibit more if I am both high and willing to slide down the long and windy staircase in the museum. As I will be accompanied by my favorite Stern girl, Cooper (yes, we refer to her in last name only), I doubt the former suggestion will be put into practice. The latter, however, is entirely possible.

2. 1969 exhibit at PS 1. My favorite modern art museum in Long Island City has an entire wing of its museum dedicated to my favorite year in the 1960s decade. Yes, I have a favorite year in every decade. For example, my favorite 1980s year is 1983, when Michael Jackson released “Billy Jean” and the issue of paternity testing first came to the forefront of political debate.

3. Jane Austen exhibit at the Morgan Library on Madison Ave. I know I should never publicly acknowledge my regard for mushy-gushy chic lit of the 1800s, but after two years in a women’s college it is inevitable. I want a Mr. Darcy in all his British glory.

4. See NINE. All my favorite actresses in “Chicago” Part II. Oh, Rob Marshall, where have you been for the last five years?

5. Acquire the perfect ball dress for my “New York, New York” themed ball. As my 9th grade English teacher once said, “Write what you know,” or in my case, plan what you know best. While the theme has been described as so “predictable,” I rather have a predictable ball that rocks the socks off my British cohorts than a spontaneous one that keeps their socks in place. Did I mention I am aiming to host it in an abandoned fire station turned avant garde theater? How New York.

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I am once again reminded why New York will always be home: While sitting in Starbucks, as I do, I notice a man in his 20s beside me diligently working on his laptop. A few minutes of diligence apparently is too much because he proceeds to leave his computer, cell phone, and wallet on the table. He then exits Starbucks and starts doing pull ups on the bars outside the coffee house. Pull ups in the freezing rain. One might ask what is to stop a not so sneaky thief from claiming this man’s electronics and credit cards as his own? The answer: a soldering iron conspicuously left next to said valuable items. Yes, this is how New Yorkers operate. Touch my stuff and I’ll solder you.

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